By: Lilli Rozanski, MS, RDN, LDN, Sports and Fitness Dietitian, Thibodaux
Regional Health System
Oh, the holidays. Endless food options for the whole family can make it
easier to overeat. Here are seven tips to enjoying yourself in a balanced
way this holiday season.
Do not skip meals or ‘save calories’ for a holiday meal.
This sets you up to be overly hungry when the meal begins and can cause
overeating. Skipping meals and overeating when you do eat is also bad
for metabolism, which operates better when it has a consistent supply of food.
Definitely savor each bite.
It is important to eat slowly and wait before getting seconds because it
takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the signal that you are actually
full. Remember to pace yourself. By savoring every delicious bite, you
are more likely to take your time and stop when you have had enough.
Ask yourself “Am I still enjoying this?”
Whenever you are not sure if you are overeating, one question I recommend
my clients ask at different points throughout the meals is, "Am I
still enjoying this?" If the answer is yes, then consider continuing
to eat. If the answer is no, you also have the option to take a break
and then reevaluate the need for more later. Remember, you can always
come back for seconds. If you realize 20 minutes later you are still hungry,
grab another bite.
Bring on the vegetables and eat them first.
Try to make half your plate vegetables. If there are no actual vegetables
being served at your holiday supper, consider bringing a dish to the festivities.
A lot of my clients find it helpful to eat your vegetables first. Before
you enjoy the roasted turkey, savory stuffing and sweet potato pie, have
a serving of the vegetable dish you brought to the party. This makes sure
that you actually eat the vegetables (before getting full). And vegetables
tend to be high in nutrients and fiber—a winning combination for
Be smart about beverages.
If you're a big fan of eggnog-, cranberry- or peppermint-infused cocktails,
enjoy one during your holiday party-hopping-but keep to just one for the
night. Make a switch to something lighter (in calories and probably alcohol
content) such as wine, a dark beer or an alcohol-free beverage like sparkling water.
Enjoy dessert, and be mindful while doing it.
There will likely be endless assortments of cakes, cookies, pies, and ice
cream at your holiday meal. Have some. Enjoy it. If you want to taste
every dessert in attendance, consider having a small sampling of each.
Pay attention to what really matters.
Although food is an integral part of the holidays, put the focus on family
and friends, laughter and cheer. If balance and moderation are your usual
guides, it’s okay to indulge or overeat once in a while.
For more information or to schedule a nutrition consultation with a registered
dietitian, contact Thibodaux Regional Health System at 985-493-4765.